‘Not your ordinary cookbook’ | Stories, recipes of women amid lockdown launched

Book cover of Lutong Gipit


MANILA – A group of women farmers launched a cookbook that contains stories and recipes in the time of a militarist lockdown and insufficient aid from the government.

“These are also stories of the hardship they faced and continue to face during the lockdown; farmers that are going bankrupt because they cannot sell their crops, families going hungry and some can only eat twice a day, and mothers who find it difficult to feed their children due to the economic crisis,” Camille Rosas of Rural Women’s Advocate (RUWA) said.

Women farmers group Amihan, in partnership with RUWA and Gantala Press, launched the cookbook titled “Lutong Gipit: Mga Recipe sa Panahon ng Krisis,” describing it as “not an ordinary recipe book.”

The idea behind the book came following the lack of financial aid being provided by the government, and to raise awareness for those experiencing hunger amid the pandemic, the group said.

Common ingredients found in the cookbook are garlic, onion, and vegetables that one can either buy at local markets or in one’s backyard.

Ingredients for a recipe called “Sitaw na may sardinas” (String beans with canned sardines) include string beans (P40 per bundle), canned sardines (P22) per can, onion (P5 per piece), garlic (P5 per clove), and cooking oil (P15 per pack) would only cost P87 ($1.75). While “Ginisang monggo na may malunggay” (Sauteed monggo with malunggay) will only cost $0.38 for the onion, garlic, and ginger if malunggay and monggo are available in one’s backyard.

Most of the recipes included in the book would cost P100 ($2) or below.

“We thought that it was a good idea to compile the experiences of peasant women on how they are able to deal with the pandemic and economic crisis they are facing in an everyday basis” Zen Soriano, chairperson of women farmers group Amihan said.

So far, the government’s social amelioration program has been far and few in between.

Government data revealed that pangs of hunger among the Filipino poor were most felt back in April and May of 2020, the first two months of the world’s longest and strictest lockdown against COVID-19.

Read: Food remains out of reach for the poor

“Food is historical. It is a communal and social activity, where peasant women are the chefs. A tight budget for food, much like poverty, can be inherited too. Going to lunch is the common way to rest for farmers and workers. Different sauces make the exchange of stories and memories more delicious. A sip of hot soup can recharge an exhausted body. But what if there is nothing to sip? You cannot eat heartily if food is in short supply” said Nicole Serrano of Gantala Press.

During the book launch, they also reiterated earlier calls of farmers and fisherfolk for production subsidy, which they have been demanding from the government for almost a year now.

Read: Triple whammy for Filipino farmers: pandemic, liberalization and human rights abuses

They also said that previous government policies, including the rice liberalization Law, aggravated their already dire situation. (JJE, RVO) (https://www.bulatlat.com)

Digital copy of the cookbook may be availed here. Price at P250 for the e-copy (digital copy). Printed copy also available.

This article was updated on July 7, 2021, 4:57 p.m. to reflect the correct names of organizers. 

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